Song Lyric Sunday: “The Wild Rover”

Jim’s prompt for today is “Drifter/Loner/Vagabond.” The word “vagabond” made me think, “begorrah, we gotta have an Irish tune!” So here’s one that’s more or less in line with today’s theme.

“The Wild Rover” is an old Irish folk tune that could be somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 years old. This gets played a lot at Irish bars, and is a particular favorite, because it calls for audience participation, namely four claps in time with the music after “and it’s no, nay, never” in the refrain. Get a bunch of kilted pipers and drummers in the bar who’ve had a couple, the four claps might be replaced by the group bellowing “RIGHT UP YER KILT!” (Actually, I’m not sure about that; usually by the time they got around to playing this one, I was feeling happy in an alcohol-induced way and that’s what it sounded like, so that’s what I’d say.) The version we’re about to hear is by The Dubliners, who neither clap nor shout after “no, nay, never.” Some people take the fun out of everything, y’know?

The lyrics (which are also in the video), courtesy of AZLyrics:

I’ve been a wild rover for many’s the year
And I’ve spent all my money on whiskey and beer
But now I’m returning with gold in great store
And I never will play the wild rover no more

And it’s no, nay, never [clap, clap, clap, clap]
No, nay, never, no more
Will I play the wild rover
No, never, no more

I went into an ale-house I used to frequent
And I told the landlady my money was spent
I asked her for credit, she answered me nay
Such “a custom as yours I can have any day”

And it’s no, nay, never [RIGHT UP YER KILT!]
No, nay, never, no more
Will I play the wild rover
No, never, no more

I took from my pocket ten sovereigns bright
And the landlady’s eyes opened wide with delight
She said I’d have whiskey and wines of the best
And the words that you told me were only in jest

And it’s no, nay, never
No, nay, never, no more
Will I play the wild rover
No, never, no more

I’ll go home to my parents, confess what I’ve done
And I’ll ask them to pardon their prodigal son
And when they’ve caressed me as oft’ times before
I never will play the wild rover no more

And it’s no, nay, never
No, nay, never, no more
Will I play the wild rover
No, never, no more

That’s Song Lyric Sunday for October 13, 2019.

Song Lyric Sunday: “18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses”

Jim’s prompt this week is “bus/truck/lorry,” which gives me an opportunity to play one of my favorite country songs, sung by one of my favorite country singers, Kathy Mattea. Like a lot of great country songs, this one tells a story, the story of a trucker named Charlie who’s on his last run before retirement. It was written by Paul Nelson and Gene Nelson, and appeared on Kathy’s 1987 album Untasted Honey. It reached #1 on the US and Canadian Country charts in 1988.

The lyrics are from Metrolyrics.com:

Charlie’s got a gold watch
Don’t seem like a whole lot
After thirty years of drivin’
Up and down the interstate
But Charlie’s had a good life
And Charlie’s got a good wife
And after tonight she’ll no longer
Be countin’ the days

Eighteen wheels and a dozen roses
Ten more miles on his four day run
A few more songs from the all night radio
And he’ll spend the rest of his life
With the one that he loves

They’ll buy a Winnebago
Set out to find America
Do a lotta catchin’ up
A little at a time
With pieces of the old dream
They’re gonna light the old flame
Doin’ what they please
Leavin every other reason behind

Eighteen wheels and a dozen roses
Ten more miles on his four day run
A few more songs from the all night radio
And he’ll spend the rest of his life
With the one that he loves

Eighteen wheels and a dozen roses
Ten more miles on his four day run
A few more songs from the all night radio
And he’ll spend the rest of his life
With the one that he loves

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday for October 6, 2019.

Song Lyric Sunday: “On The Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe”

Our theme today is “train songs.” Wow, where to begin?

When I was really young, Dad worked for the Monon Railroad (“Up and down the Monon, everything is fine, ’cause the rootin’ tootin’ Monon is the Hoosier line”), one of the smaller railroads that ran from Chicago to Monon, Indiana, Indianapolis and Louisville. When he left, he was assistant to the president of the railroad. We knew this, of course, because when he got the job he had a bunch of pads of paper printed with the Monon trademark and an announcement that “William K. Holton is now Assistant to the President of the Monon Railroad.” We used those announcements as scrap paper for years; some of them might have still been around after he died, I’m not sure. I don’t think he was in the job that long, but it was long enough to score a lot of china and silverware from the railroad when they shut down their meal service. I still have a crumbcatcher that the porters in the dining cars would use to clean off the tablecloths. One of my aunts told me that there was an ad for the Monon that showed a conductor standing in the doorway of a train car shouting “All Aboard!” If you looked close enough, you’d notice that his fly was open.

There was a time when train travel was the dominant mode of long-distance transportation in the United States, and Chicago, being in the middle of the country, was the center of most of it. Steve Goodman’s “City of New Orleans” (which was covered by Arlo Guthrie) memorializes the Illinois Central train of the same name, which now runs as part of Amtrak, the government-operated company that handles practically all of the country’s passenger rail service. The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad sent trains all over the country from its hub in Chicago, most notably the Super Chief, a weekly service that ran between Chicago and Los Angeles, on which many movie stars and other celebrities traveled over the years. The Santa Fe was advertising its passenger service from Chicago on the local news as late as the mid-’60’s.

Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer wrote the song “On The Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe” in 1944. During 1945, no fewer than four versions of the song were on the Billboard chart, by Mercer, Bing Crosby, Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra, and Judy Garland, who had sung the song in the film The Harvey Girls that year. In 1946 it won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Mercer’s was the only one to reach #1: here’s that version.

The lyrics, from SongLyrics.com:

Do you hear that whistle down the line?
I’m thinking that’s engine number 49
She’s the only one that’ll sound that way
On the Atchison, Topeka & the Santa Fe

See the old smoke rising round the bend
I reckon that she knows she’s going to meet a friend
Folks around these parts get the time of day
From the Atchison, Topeka & the Santa Fe

Here she comes (oooh)
Hey Jim you better get the rig (oooh)
She’s got a list of passengers that’s pretty big
And they’ll all want a list to Brown’s Hotel
Cause lots of them have been traveling for quite a spell
All the way from Philadelphia
On the Atchinson, Topeka & the Santa Fe

All aboard
All Aboard
Chug a chug chug chug chug woo-woo
Chug a chug chug chug chug woo-woo
Let her rip, let her rip Mister Engineer
Gotta go gotta go far away from here
While the man at the fire shovels on the coal
Stick your head out the cab watch the driver roll
See the towns & the roads go whipping by

Farethewell Laramie, Albuquerque high
Yessire here we are
Going all the way
Won’t quit til we hit california

On the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe
On the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe
Here she comes
Hey Jim you better get the rig (oooh)
She’s got a list of passengers that’s pretty big
And they’ll all want a list to Brown’s Hotel
Cause lots of them have been traveling for quite a spell
All the way from Philadelphia
On the Atchinson, Topeka & the Santa Fe

Wikipedia would like to point out, “Despite mentions in the lyrics of the song, the AT&SF never directly reached Laramie, Wyoming or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.”

Anyway, that’s Song Lyric Sunday for September 29, 2019.

Song Lyric Sunday: “Who Threw The Overalls In Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder?”

Our theme this week is clothing, or more precisely “Clothing/Hat/Pants/Scarf/Shirt/Shoes/Tie.” I picked a song that I doubt anyone else will.

There used to be a pizza joint not far from Loyola, and the jukebox had a rather eclectic list of songs on it. One of the songs was Bing Crosby singing “Who Threw The Overalls In Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder?” We used to play it whenever we went in, because it’s just the kind of crazy song that we liked. It was written around the turn of the century by George L. Geifer and recorded on a wax cylinder by Edward M. Favor in 1901. Bing, being a loyal Son of Erin, recorded it for his 1945 album St. Patrick’s Day, never thinking that some thirty years later a bunch of rowdy college students would play it while eating pizza and drinking beer on Saturday night.

The lyrics, from Lyrics.com:

Oh, who threw the overalls in Mrs Murphy’s chowder
Nobody spoke, so he shouted all the louder
It’s an Irish trick that’s true
I can lick the mick that threw
The overalls in Mrs Murphy’s chowder

Mrs. Murphy gave a party ’bout a week ago
Everything was plentiful, the Murphys they’re not slow
They treated us like gentlemen, we tried to act the same
But only for what happened, well it was an awful shame

Mrs. Murphy dished the chowder out and fainted on the spot
She found a pair of overalls in the bottom of the pot
Tim Nolan he got rippin’ mad, his eyes were bulgin’ out
He jumped up on the PI-A-NO and loudly he did shout

Who threw the overalls in Mrs Murphy’s chowder?
Nobody spoke, so he shouted all the louder
It’s an Irish trick that’s true
I can lick the mick that threw
The overalls in Mrs Murphy’s chowder

They dragged the pants from out the soup and laid them on the floor
Each man swore upon his life he’d ne’er seen them before
They were plastered up with mortar and were worn out at the knee
They’d had their many ups and downs as we could plainly see

when Mrs Murphy she came to she starts to cry and pout
She’d had them in the wash that day and forgot to take them out
Tim Nolan he excused himself for what he’d said that night
So we put music to the words and sang with all our might

Oh, who threw the overalls in Mrs Murphy’s chowder
Nobody spoke so we shouted all the louder
It’s an Irish trick that’s true
I can lick the mick that threw
The overalls in Mrs Murphy’s chowder

You’ll notice that “overalls” is pronounced “overhauls.” Just thought I’d mention it.

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday for September 22, 2019.

Song Lyric Sunday: “Our House”

I love this song too much to try and pick something a little more obscure. Jim’s prompt for today is “Floor/House/Roof/Walls” and my choice is “Our House” by the British band Madness. Written by band members Chris Foreman and Cathal Smyth, it was on their 1982 album The Rise & Fall and became a Top 10 hit internationally, including #7 in the US.

Lyrics from MetroLyrics:

Father wears his Sunday best
Mother’s tired she needs a rest
The kids are playing up downstairs
Sister’s sighing in her sleep
Brother’s got a date to keep
He can’t hang around

Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our

Our house it has a crowd
There’s always something happening
And it’s usually quite loud
Our mum she’s so house-proud
Nothing ever slows her down
And a mess is not allowed

Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our …
Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our …

Father gets up late for work
Mother has to iron his shirt
Then she sends the kids to school
Sees them off with a small kiss
She’s the one they’re going to miss
In lots of ways

Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our …

I remember way back then when everything was true and when
We would have such a very good time such a fine time
Such a happy time
And I remember how we’d play simply waste the day away
Then we’d say nothing would come between us two dreamers

Father wears his Sunday best
Mother’s tired she needs a rest
The kids are playing up downstairs
Sister’s sighing in her sleep
Brother’s got a date to keep
He can’t hang around

Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our …
Our house, was our castle and our keep
Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, that was where we used to sleep
Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our street

That’s Song Lyric Sunday for September 15, 2019.